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Pantry-dyed Easter Eggs

My sister Mary lives for Easter eggs. Actually she lives for the day after Easter when she can have creamed chip beef on toast with chopped egg on top. Me, I’ll take my eggs in wedges on a spinach salad.

Coloring eggs was a big thing at our house, but it never occurred to me that we could have colored them with things from our own pantry until my friend was looking for beets for her children to dye eggs with a couple of years ago.

Turns out there are lots of things in your fridge and pantry to color eggs with. Think about anything that can stain a wooden spoon or dish towel and you will have the makings for good egg dye: tumeric, grape juice, spinach, carrots, red cabbage. Not surprisingly these foods also are high in antioxidants, making this a great exercise in chemistry and nutrition.

Fresh ingredients typically yield brighter, truer colors. Heat alters some colors like red cabbage which yields a blue dye and canned beets which yield a green-brown dye instead of bright pink.

For bright pink eggs, you can combine hard cooked eggs with 2 large freshly grated beets, ½ c water, and 1 T vinegar in a glass tumbler so that the eggs are covered and in full contact with the mixture. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the beet mixture and one over the top of the glass, as well.

For more controlled dyeing, you can use the following ingredients and procedure:

Pink: juice from 10 oz frozen raspberries – do not add water

Orange: 1 c freshly grated carrot (pre boil before adding eggs for best color) or 1 T paprika for each cup water

Yellow: 2 t tumeric for every cup of water

Green: 1 c frozen spinach

Robin’s Egg Blue: 1 c chopped fresh red cabbage (strain and refrigerate overnight for best color)

Violet Blue: red wine (do not dilute as for raspberries above)

Lavender: 3 to 4 bags Red Zinger tea


1. Place 3 eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered. (Do not add water for raspberries)

2. Add 1 T of vinegar.

3. Add the natural dye ingredient from the list above. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color.

4. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Allow to sit in solution for at least 30 minutes.

If you like the color, you can take the eggs out and allow them to dry. If you would like a more intense color, remove the eggs and strain the dye liquid through a coffee filter to remove the solids. This will keep your eggs from becoming speckled or blotchy. Place the eggs in a glass tumbler or glass or stainless steel bowl and cover them with the filtered dye solution. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

For a glossy finish, rub a bit of vegetable oil on the eggs after they are cooled and dry. Use strained dye stuffs like spinach, cabbage, and carrots, as well as wine-water mixture to soups. For dye stuffs like raspberries, add a bit of sugar and put them over ice cream or in muffins.

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